China is “fully prepared to fight” in the ongoing battle with the U.S. over the ownership of TikTok, one of its state-backed outlets has said.
Reacting to the news that a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction to TikTok and its parent company ByteDance on Sunday, saving it from being booted from mobile app stores in the U.S., the Global Times criticized the Trump administration.
“The U.S. is shamelessly robbing a Chinese company in an attempt to drive it away from the products it has created and make U.S. companies its new owner. China won’t allow this,” the editorial published by the state mouthpiece said. “We will defend our rights to the end. For the sake of TikTok and other Chinese companies, we will act to prevent globalization from becoming Americanization.”
The publication, a tabloid controlled by the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper, welcomed the ruling of District of Columbia judge Carl Nichols, saying it “served as a buffer to the Trump administration’s insane suppression of TikTok.”
“The U.S. government requests that ByteDance must completely withdraw from TikTok’s operation and hand over its control on TikTok to a US entity. This is blunt bullying. It’s a robbery of Chinese company’s achievements under the guise of security. This is a flagrant subversion of international business ethics.”
Citing national security and data privacy concerns due to TikTok’s ownership, president Donald Trump issued executive orders that threatened to restrict the popular app’s availability in the U.S., scheduled to be enforced from September 27.
Earlier this month, a tentative deal was reached between TikTok, software firm Oracle and retail giant Walmart that would see the U.S. companies acquire 20 percent of a newly-formed venture called TikTok Global, according to an official statement.
However, Trump later indicated he would not approve a deal that does not give the U.S. “total control.” ByteDance has suggested its algorithms—essentially the code that powers the app’s addictive user feeds—would not be included in the deal.
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Those negotiations remain ongoing.
TikTok filed the legal request last week in an attempt to stop the imminent bans. Without the last-hour injunction being given, the app would have been removed from app stores by Monday morning, stopping it from being downloaded by new users.
A request for a delay in the next deadline of November 12—given to allow more time for the negotiations—was rejected by the judge, NPR reported. If a deal is not made by that date, broader restrictions are predicted to make TikTok unusable in the U.S.
TikTok attorney John Hall told the judge silencing the app would be “no different than the government locking the doors to a public forum, roping off that town square.”
The U.S. Commerce Department said after the ruling that Trump’s executive order was “fully consistent with the law and promotes legitimate national security interests.”
TikTok has repeatedly denied that its Chinese ownership poses a risk to the data of its American userbase, which is believed to be approximately 100 million people.
Interim global chief Vanessa Pappas said in a legal declaration that a U.S. ban on the app, even short-term, would have dramatic consequences for its business. “Our modeling indicates that 40–50 percent of our daily active users before the… TikTok ban will not return to TikTok even if the ban is lifted after two months; if the ban is in place for six months, 80–90 percent of daily users will not return,” she wrote.
In its editorial today, the Global Times author, who was not identified, asserted that the Trump administrator wanted a “treaty signed with coercion.”
“Overall, the U.S.’s China policy is demented now. Its maximum pressure to suppress Chinese companies and products (including TikTok and WeChat) largely stems from its selfish needs to aid Trump’s re-election,” the article said. “Its outrageous instigation caters to the extreme sentiments of some people. It severely damages the interests and reputation of the U.S. as a…commercial society.”
A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement Sunday: “We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees. At the same time, we will also maintain our ongoing dialogue with the government to turn our proposal, which the President gave his preliminary approval to last weekend, into an agreement.”